Posts Tagged ‘PFLAG’

I’ll Let You In On A Secret!

“I’m tired of living day-to-day and hand-to-mouth/This could be the day I finally find my way out”

“I’m gonna climb that mountain high/I’m gonna see what’s on the other side/I’m gonna kiss this town good-bye/I’m gonna climb that mountain”

“How I arrived here, heaven only knows/Seems more like the kind of place the devil would’ve chose…I know somewhere down the road my dreams will come true”

“Climb That Mountain High” is from Reba McEntire’s 1990 album, “Rumor Has It”.  It was one of the first CDs I bought and my first from Reba!

That song has always been a beacon of encouragement for me.  It was there when I was looking to launch my television news career and every time I was awaiting my next move.

I’ve been listening to the song again daily for weeks now!

“CHANGE”

Almost a year ago (in “Change”), I shared details of some big changes in my life that would take me to Panama City, Florida, “So, as much as I love Midwestern snows, I’m trading it all in for the occasional hurricane and tropical storm!”

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What the hell was I thinking — giving up snow and four distinct seasons?

In my “Christmas Update” blog on December 18, 2017, I pontificated, “I’m miserable… life is too short to feel this way and if things don’t change soon, I’ll make a change for myself and not just accept a “Band-Aid” to cover something that needs more attention – my happiness.”

In a talk after the holidays with my fantastic news director Tom Lewis, he agreed that life’s too short to be unhappy.  I said I’d start looking to return to Midwest and if I didn’t find a job, I’d be gone by Halloween!

In February, I contacted some stations across Illinois to try to get back closer to my sister and my friends in the Quad Cities, where I spent 11.5 years before the ill-fated move to Florida.

Sadly, there were no openings and many “we’ll keep you in mind when we have a position available”.

“CHANGE 2.0”

Change

In television news, like most professions, talent and experience are major factors to be considered.  However, timing and luck also play huge roles.

I contacted a station about an opening that was posted just after Thanksgiving.  I wondered why, four months later, the position wasn’t filled.

It turns out they were not in any hurry to fill the position and were waiting for the right person.

And, now back to that “timing and luck”.

The news director was at the end of his search.  He and I started corresponding and eight days later, I was offered the job and I accepted it.

My friends, in June, I’ll be the Chief Meteorologist at the Fox affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota, seven hours north of the Quad Cities.

I’m getting my four distinct seasons and my snow back!

From Wikipedia: “At 85″ per year, the port city of Duluth has the highest average snowfall total of any city in Minnesota”!

Two last weather notes:  I’ll have to get used to the bitter cold again.  The record low there is -41°, but it’s never reached 100° (97° is the record high).

I honestly feel like George Bailey in Bedford Falls at Christmas in “It’s A Wonderful Life”! Pottersville (Panama City, for me) was just an alternate universe!

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While some love it here and many love visiting the beaches (they think Panama City and Panama City Beach are the same), I just didn’t connect with the area.

At the beginning, from a dating standpoint, I wasn’t looking for anything since I was still reeling from the big changes in my personal life.

But, not one date in a year!!!

I’m now at the point where I’m ready to find my knight on a white horse like Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”).

“I would pretend I was a princess, trapped in the tower by a wicked queen. And then suddenly, this knight, on a white horse, with these colors flying, would come charging up and draw his sword… and I would wave, and he would climb up the tower, and rescue me.”

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However, I did find two dear friends here — Cathy and Gerard Rifenburg.

Cathy founded the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter.

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A month after I moved here, they graciously invited me to a function they were hosting at their house.

Since then, we’ve enjoyed dinners and parties together, including Christmas Day.

Cathy and Gerard, I’ll miss you dearly.

Another highlight of my move to Florida was an early Sunday morning road trip last July to Plains, Georgia, to meet my childhood idols, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter!

Autograph Carters

One thing I definitely won’t miss — this mentality! (Disclaimer: I know not everyone fits into this category!)

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By the way (and this had no influence in my decision, but it makes me happy), Minnesota has only voted “red” once in my life time!

In 1972, it went along with 48 other states to re-elect Richard Nixon.  Yes, Reagan and Trump lost Minnesota!

So, I’ll proudly display my faded sticker on my car. (I did so in “red” Bay County, Florida, too!)

HCAnthony

 

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We All Deserve An Elio Moment

While my thoughts today are inspired by the Oscar-nominated motion picture, “Call Me By Your Name”, it’s not a review of the movie.

About that, I’ve written that the movie “is stunning, sensual, and heartbreaking” and 22-year-old Best Actor nominee Timothee Chalamet “deserves the Oscar nomination and I could definitely see him as a front-runner”.

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In “Call Me By Your Name”, it’s 1983 in northern Italy and Elio’s summer takes a tender turn when the 17-year-old meets and falls in love with a visiting 24-year-old American graduate student, Oliver, who’s there for six weeks working with his father.

It’s a friendship and romance that’s both approved and encouraged by Elio’s loving parents.  Remember, this is Italy and the ages the story presents are more acceptable in Europe than it would be here in the United States — in the 1980s or today!

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I’ve always been an out gay man even when it wasn’t popular as a high school and college student in small town Kentucky in Ronald Reagan’s conservative, “Christian Right” America.

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For teenagers today, it’s much different than it was in the early-1980s navigating between being gay and living an open honest life when America and the world didn’t want us to be out of the closet.

My mother knew I was gay, but she still couldn’t always hide her concern with how life would be for me or with some of my decision making.

I remember one summer weekend before I started my sophomore year of college.  We lived about 25 miles from my university and an older college student, who lived near campus, invited me there for the night.   My mother was more concerned that I was spending the night with a guy than the fact that I might be taking part in underage drinking.

That first year of college living away from the watchful eyes of my parents was exciting for me as a teenager.

Decades later, I still fondly remember the butterflies I felt staring across the college dorm television room and locking eyes with the mustachioed student that came over and started talking to me.  And, still vivid are the memories of meeting and spending the night with the divorced dad in my neighborhood that was ten years older than me when I was 19.

Those three encounters happened in a one-year time span.

While I’ve gone on to fulfilling and loving relationships in my adult life, they could never compete with the excitement and the loss of innocence for a naive kid experiencing the physical sensations of becoming a young man.

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Watching innocent teenager Elio in “Call Me By Your Name”, in 2018, brought back the rush I felt on those exciting nights in 1983 and 1984.  Now, as an older man, I felt a sense of happiness that those nights were definitely worth it.

Luckily, for all of us, things are changing.

In the age of social media, which pretty much covers the last decade of my career as a television meteorologist, and with my personal blog, my “private” life is played out in public.

That’s given me a forum to educate people on what it’s like to be part of the LGBT community.   It shows people that we’re just like them — we work, we pay taxes, we cook dinner, we watch Netflix and movies, and so on.

It’s been very rewarding having mothers, grandmothers, and aunts reach out to me about how to handle their child or loved one’s “coming out” or being gay.

It’s better now because of the resources available online and in person for LGBT youth (and adults) questioning their sexuality or for parents and friends needing answers with PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

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While acceptance is higher these days, there’s also the backlash that comes with that increased visibility.

The same freedom, strides, and public acceptance that LGBT people fought for and earned (some with their lives) are being stripped away with that hateful man sitting in the White House.

The venom Donald Trump spouted in the 2016 presidential campaign and in his first year in office has given some of his followers, that already had poisoned minds, the power to openly attack (verbally and physically) others based on their sexuality (real or perceived), race, religion, gender, and the list goes on.

Sadly, our transgender friends are the ones feeling the brunt of that hate.

I know that most of the people that read what I write access it through Facebook.  And, according the site’s analytics, 72% of my Facebook followers are women and the ones that correspond and comment the most are straight.

While I want this to touch them, I really hope that this moves beyond my usual circle of readers because they are the ones that need to see it more.  We all know someone that is LGBT and it’s likely that some of them may be questioning their life and future.

In today’s political climate, this is the perfect time for “Call Me By Your Name”.

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I hope that any scared, alone, or questioning teenager or adult from any small town in America — whether it’s the backwoods of Alabama and Mississippi, the “Bible Belt” South, the wilderness of the Mountainous West, or the barren tundra of Alaska — can see “Call Me By Your Name” and know that it’s okay to have their own Elio moment, they’re not sick, and they deserve to find love and happiness!

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Anthony

P.S.  Now that you finished my thoughts, I’m sharing the Oscar-nominated song from “Call Me By Your Name”, “Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens.

Also, here are three inspiring songs that got me through those days and nights in the 1980s.

“Never Surrender” — Corey Hart

“People are People” — Depeche Mode

“I Want Your Sex” — George Michael  (Even in this risque song, George was singing about wanting to be “out and proud”!)

“There’s things that you guess/And things that you know/
There’s boys you can trust/And girls that you don’t/
There’s little things you hide/And little things that you show”

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts — June 23, 2017

It’s officially summer now and the “spring of discontent” is over!  Yes, I changed the season from the popular “summer” or “winter”.  But, this was probably the worst (or very close to it) spring of my lifetime!

I’m glad summer is here and I’m ready to get through those hot and insufferably humid Florida months because I’m told it’s gorgeous here from October through March. 🙂

Have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.

CAITLYN, PLEASE GO AWAY — ANYWHERE!

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Caitlyn Jenner.

There are several reasons for that.  I have transgender friends and they would make much better spokespeople for the LGBT community.

For the record, I have said a few nice things about her.

Caitlyn

Typically when I don’t like someone, I’ll choose one of the worst pictures I can find to post.  But, I’ll be a true southern gentleman here and post a nice one.

baseball shooting alexandria virginia bullet hole

Last week, in the wake of the baseball field shooting spree outside of Washington D.C., in which Republican Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise and three others were shot, Jenner did what she and her family (the Kardashians and the Jenners) do best, she opened her mouth!

Jenner joked to a group, “Liberals can’t even shoot straight.”

Seriously???  I’ll leave it at that, but I’ll repeat myself, Caitlyn, please go away!

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMM!

Bachmann

No, not her this time!

Shawn Ashmore in Cosmo

Not, him either.  But, as zany as it was, I do miss “The Following” and I’ll likely watch all three seasons again on Netflix one day.

I had a cherry popsicle the other night and laid the plastic wrapping on the counter and forgot to throw it away.  The next day, I noticed a big red stain on the Formica counter and Windex didn’t take it off.

But, Uncle Google told me, “Mix baking soda with just enough water to form a thick paste. Apply the paste to the stain and lay a wet paper towel over the paste to keep it moist.”

Presto!  It worked!

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMM! (PART TWO)

Aren’t you glad that I reminded you of that #4 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1991?  It also hit #1 on the Billboard Dance chart.

This also got me to thinking about another weighty C+C Music Factory controversy that I’ll share next week.  That’s a great tease! 🙂

I’LL CALL HER “BRENDA”

I was at Walmart last Sunday picking up a couple of movies from Redbox and another rotisserie chicken.

The chicken has become a weekly tradition for me since moving here. The first weekend, it was out of necessity since I hadn’t unpacked the kitchen.  Now, it’s just tasty and convenient!

While checking out the wine selection, a nicely dressed, older woman (I’ll call her “Brenda”) asked if I was the new morning meteorologist.  We got to talking about the Panhandle and “climate change” came up.  She was appalled that people don’t think it’s happening.  I agreed with her.

Then she says, “I don’t know if you’re religious or not” and I replied, “I don’t believe in organized religion, but I pray each night”.

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“Brenda” proceeds to tell me that in Revelation it says those that destroy the Earth will be destroyed by God and that she feels it’ll be sooner than we think.

I stood and politely listened.

She ended the conversation by telling me I look much younger in person and that maybe I should wear my shorts and tank top on air. 🙂

MY HISTORY WITH THE “BOOK OF REVELATION”

“Brenda” got me to thinking about the “Book of Revelation” again how it tormented me as a child.  It may have scared me away from church, but it didn’t scare me away from God.

Now that I live deep in the “Bible Belt”, I’ll share it again for my new friends or for those that may have missed it the first time.  Just click on the link and it’ll open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s blog. 🙂

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/the-book-of-revelation-scared-me-away-from-church/

“CHRISTINE”

No, I’m talking the movie based on the Stephen King novel.

I just watched the little seen 2016 movie, “Christine”, with Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) — no relation — about a Sarasota, Florida, community affairs talk show host, Christine Chubbuck, that attempted suicide live on the air in the summer of 1974.

In a just world, Rebecca Hall would have been a strong contender for an Oscars’ Best Actress nomination.  The English actress was captivating!

She was nominated for eleven acting awards from film festivals across the country and won two!

The movie definitely drove home a long-standing television news mantra, “if it bleeds, it leads”.

Sadly, the movie saw only limited release and only earned less than a third of a million dollars at the box office.

GRADE: A

“LIFE’S ABOUT TO GET GOOD”

Shania Twain is back and she’s ready to take over from she left off fifteen years ago.

Her new album, “Now”, the first since “Up!” in 2002, will be released September 29th!

Now

“Life’s About To Get Good”, the first single, is being played some at country radio!

I saw Shania in concert in 2014 in Las Vegas and she looked and sounded amazing.

Shania 2014

Too bad I had just gotten my camera at that time and wasn’t a master at selfies when she walked right up to me! 🙂

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IT’S JUST SIX MONTHS AWAY

Christmas is now just six months away.

I’ve thought about it a few times and I already know I’ll miss my beautifully decorated house back in the Quad Cities.  This was last year.

Last Christmas

I’ve been wanting to see the Will Smith movie “Collateral Beauty” and it takes place at Christmas.

“COLLATERAL BEAUTY”

In the opening scene, Smith’s character, Howard Inlet, a successful advertising executive, tells an audience that “We long for LOVE, we wish we had more TIME, and we fear DEATH.”

He then suffers a major loss and becomes reclusive to the point that he’s bringing down the company almost to the point of it going under.  His business partners devise a plan to prove that he’s losing it since he’s the majority shareholder.

That plan consists of a having a private investigator follow Inlet and three actors are hired to portray love, time, and death.

Along with Smith, an Oscar nominee, the movie also stars three other Academy Award nominees, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, and Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”), and two Oscar winners, Helen Mirren and Kate Winslet.

However, all that star power and the gold pedigree couldn’t save the movie from being panned by movie critics and some fans.

On the “Rotten Tomatoes” movie website, it only has a 12% approval rating! However, movie goers on CinemaScore gave it an “A-“.

The $36 million movie grossed $88.2 million.

GRADE:  B

DAVID LYNCH SPEAKS THE TRUTH

I never saw “Twin Peaks”, but the sequel is back on Showtime.

Director David Lynch is known to be a little out there.  If you’ve seen any of his movies, you know that.

But, what he told “Entertainment Weekly” recently shows that the man know what he’s talking about.

“People are people, and we are the way we are.  We’re all supposed to get along, and diversity should be appreciated fully in the light of unity.  That’s peace on Earth and there should be room for everyone.”

David, thank you for being an ally!

PRIDE — THE MUSIC LIVES ON

June is national LGBT Pride month.

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Two weeks ago, I highlighted the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre and last week, I talked about meeting the founder of the Panama City PFLAG chapter at a meet and greet.

I also meet some great people there and had some tasty appetizers.

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PRIDE IN MY EARLY CLUB DAYS

Last week, I also shared two songs that’ll always stay with me and remind me of my early club days in the 1980s.

Today, I’m featuring two more.  Both were huge hits in the early-to-mid-1980s as AIDS was ravaging the gay community and President Reagan and the federal government kept its eyes, ears, mouth, and minds closed.

Ironically, both of these songs are from HIV-positive artists and the songs couldn’t be as different — one was about quick sex without any commitment and the other was about taking it slow — talking, dancing, and having cherry wine.

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Greek-American model and dancer Paul Lekakis was discovered in an Italian nightclub.

He never scored a Top 40 American hit on the Billboard 100, but his first release that only peaked at #43 is one of my favorite songs from back in my club days.

“Boom Boom (Let’s Go Back To My Room”) hit #6 on the Billboard Dance charts and it topped the charts in Austria for five weeks and it hit #1 in South Africa and Japan.

In 1990, he released his debut album, “Tattoo It”, which generated several big dance hits, but he was too hot (read: gay) to market commercially.

Singer Jermaine Stewart was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1957 and his family moved to Chicago in 1972.

He became a regular dancer on “Soul Train”, which was filmed in Chicago.  He moved to Los Angeles with fellow Chicagoans Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel and just missed out on becoming the lead singer of Shalamar, a dance and R&B band.

Stewart met Mikey Craig of Culture Club and sang back-up on the demo for “Miss Me Blind” and he was signed to Arista Records.  His first single, “The Word Is Out” just missed the Billboard Top 40 in 1983, peaking at #41.

However, Stewart hit it big in 1986 when “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” reached #5 on the Hot 100.

The follow-up single about his friend, Jody Watley of Shalamar and “Looking For A New Love” fame, “Jody”, went as high as #42 on the Hot 100, but it reached the top twenty on the R & B chart.

He died at the age of 39 in 1997 of AIDS-related liver cancer.

BOOM BOOM BONUS

Lekakis is living healthy now and working as an actor (he had a leading role in a club movie called “Circuit” and he starred in one of my favorite horror movies, “Hellbent”). Meanwhile, he still tours with his music.

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — June 16, 2017

It’s the last weekend of the spring of 2017, but with the heat and humidity we’re already experiencing, it feels like summer.

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.

DIVIDED EVEN AFTER A TRAGEDY

“Liberal intolerant people!”

baseball shooting alexandria virginia bullet hole

In the wake of the shooting of Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise and several others earlier this week at a Washington D.C.-area baseball field, that’s what someone said to me about the reasoning behind it.

While it’s still being investigated, it appears that the shooter may have targeted the group because they were Republicans.

Who knows if that was the only or real reason?  It’s too early to write anything off.

As I said many times and it’s worth repeating again now, there are good and bad Democrats and there are good and bad Republicans.

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You can love or loathe Donald Trump and you can love or loathe Hillary Clinton, but you can’t go around threatening violence or being violent.

The words liberal and conservative are used as dirty words.

I’m not perfect. I’ve been guilty at jumping at conclusions that those people are close-minded.  Well, I was right and I was wrong.  Some are and some are not!

I’m always trying to educate myself .  The bottom line is that being “liberal” or “conservative” really just means we have many differences and that we need to work on them for a common good.

Those are truly only bad words when you add ignorance to the mix!

WILD KINGDOM!

Since moving to Panama City, Florida, more than a month-and-a half ago, I’ve enjoyed seeing all the wildlife around my apartment complex.  No, I still haven’t seen an alligator or a snake and I’d like to leave it that way.

I’ve seen a few fish and many turtles and ducks.

But, as I blogged before, my fascination with the ducks is turning more to tragedy.  At first, it was like “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” — the ducks being killed by inattentive drivers or turtles.

Now, it’s more like the duck version of Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel, “And Then There Were None”.

And then there were none

Take this little duck family.  I’ve seen then waddling along and swimming the pond together. This was taken one morning.

On a walk that evening, I saw Mom and two ducklings.  The next morning, it was Mom and just one duckling and then later that day, Mom was alone!

Now, hypothetically, they could have been at “ducky day care”, visiting “duck relatives”, or the three could have been adopted by one of the other “duck families”!

But, the reality is that they were probably grabbed by a turtle and that’s all she wrote. 😦

BREAKING NEWS…. I wrote that part early Wednesday.  However, later that afternoon, I think I saw the same duck above with FOUR ducklings.  So, maybe they were visiting their “cousins”!

I think I need to make human friends!

Carp Tail

And, then there’s the case of this carp that mysteriously just appeared one day.  For days, it swam at the top of the pond looking like a small shark with just the top fin showing.

As I watched it slowly swim, I noticed a turtle following close behind.  I thought, ” you’d better swim a little faster”, but then I got a good look at its tail.

It looks like a turtle (or turtles) already had a few bites!

After witnessing it floating upside down a few times and then flipping over and swimming away, I haven’t seen it now for four days.

Wildlife, I’m over you!  I think I’ll just look at plants!

PRIDE IN THE PANHANDLE

While June is national LGBT Pride Month, Pride celebrations are held on different weekends throughout the month across the country and the world.

Last weekend, I was cordially invited to a gathering by the founder of the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter, Cathy Rifenburg.

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She started the chapter here more than a decade ago because her two sons (one gay and one straight) did not have the same rights in the Panhandle and in the United States.

The meet & greet cocktail party was to introduce Equality Florida’s Transgender Inclusion Director Gina Duncan.

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Gina spoke to us about how she’s protected in Orlando, where she lives, for being transgender, but how she could be fired from her job for being transgender here in Panama City and Bay County.

Also, how, in many Florida counties, an LGBT couple could get married on the weekend because of “marriage equality” is legal in the U.S., yet they could still be fired on Monday for placing a picture of their spouse on their desk!

So much progress in this country, yet we still have a long road to travel.

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I also met with organizers of Pride of the Panhandle, too.

It was a great time and a wonderful chance to meet some members of the Panama City LGBT community, but a real opportunity to introduce myself  to the community’s “straight but not narrow” friends.

Cathy and Jerry, thank you for the invitation.

PERFECT SCENE FOR PRIDE MONTH

I’ll talk about “House of Cards” in a bit, but this Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) scene is stunning and appropriate for Pride month.

It makes up for some of the devious things that Claire has done. 🙂

“BREAKING BAD”

After watching the first two seasons of what many call “one of the greatest series ever”, “Breaking Bad”, last summer, I recently binge-watched the last three seasons of the series.

The series finale was phenomenal and 35 minutes into it, I was crying!!!!!

Warning:  contains spoilers!

I also loved the “Hannibal” (NBC) finale.

Dexter The Final Season

While I loved “Dexter” and “The X-Files”, the finales didn’t blow me away — even though there were explosions in both finales. 🙂

Slight detour there, but I loved seasons one, two, three, and five of “Breaking Bad”.  I didn’t really care for season four, except for the nursing home scene toward the end of the season.

While I done with Walter White and company, I don’t see myself dialing up “Better Call Saul”.

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

I just wrapped up season five of the hit Netflix series, “House of Cards” with the incredible Robin Wright (Claire Underwood) and Kevin Spacey (Francis Underwood).

Wright’s icy portrayal is spellbinding to watch.  I could watch her as Claire Underwood all day.

I was blown away by Donald’s (the vice president) comment to Claire regarding her initials and the two that were missing! 🙂

And, what about these four choice lines!

Television commentator:  “in the end as we all know… it comes down to the Electoral College.

Campaign manager: “you lost, but more than half the country sees you as their president.

And, this one from “House of Cards” Secretary of State Catherine Durant:  “I’ve been at this for 30 years, so I think I can survive… I’m not alarmed.

FBI agent: “it’s unthinkable to assume the FBI would involve itself in an election.”

Where does Hollywood come up with this sh**?  Oops, stuff!    🙂

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Unreal!!!!!!!!

Oh, sadly, it isn’t!

PRIDE MUSICAL MEMORY

Since it’s Pride month, I’ll share a couple of songs that still take me back to the days when I first started clubbing.

“Fascinated” by Company B is still one of my all-time favorite dance club songs.  While the band had four Billboard Dance hits, this is the only one that hit #1 and, in 1987, it actually crossed over to Top 40 radio and reached #21 on the Hot 100.

Another one of my all-time favorites filled the dance floors every time it played.

Just listening to the words of the song today, Miquel Brown’s “So Many Men, So Little Time” personifies the 1980s mood of excessive living and the “me” mindset — just as AIDS was becoming rampant in the gay community.

The song reached #2 on the Billboard Dance chart in 1983.

Of course, with the option of choosing a shorter live performance or the very sensual and scandalous extended version, you know which one I chose!

Proceed with caution!! 🙂

MOVING SECRETS

After being on the road for 19 hours, I stopped over in Dothan, Alabama, for a few hours of sleep in a dump of a hotel.  While I locked up the U-Haul, I left my car door unlocked.  It was packed front and back with everything from wall art and plants, and yes, my computer!

Thank you party people at the hotel for leaving all my stuff for me!

Also, at two different gas fill-ups, I left the lid off the U-Haul gas tank.  Luckily, it had such deep tanks that there was no spillage.

Woops!

That expression was just an excuse to use this hilarious scene from the incredible “Torch Song Trilogy” and end the blog on a happy note.

Have a great weekend!

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

Don’t Just Pray For The “Bobbys” of The World, Love Them

Life is too short, especially for teenagers and young adults that think life is not worth living.

It’s especially vile when those kids kill themselves because of people’s distorted view that God is a hater.

Bobby Griffith

When he was 16-years-old, Bobby Griffith was so tormented that he confided to his brother and best friend, Ed, that he was gay.  When the pressure of that secret became too much to keep,  Ed told his mother, Mary, that his little brother was gay.

Mary And Bobby Griffith

Being a devout Christian, who feared God, Mary felt that Bobby would lead a miserable life and that God would condemn her son to hell and she would not see him in the afterlife.  Her repeated efforts for Bobby to “pray away” the gay, her constant spouting of Bible verses, and talks about damnation were too much.

On a summer night in 1983, at the age of 20, Bobby jumped off an overpass in Portland, Oregon, and was struck and killed by a semi-trailer.

Bobby 2

Sadly, there are too many Bobbys in this world who are told or that believe that their life is not worth living if they’re gay.

Society is slowly moving forward and letting the Bobbys know that their life has meaning.  We have a long way to go, but we’re making progress.

I just finished reading “Prayers for Bobby: A Mother’s Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son” by journalist Leroy F. Aarons, who worked closely with Mary Griffith and her family to form the story of Bobby’s life and his being gay.

He also used Bobby’s diary entries and there’s no denying that Bobby’s self-worth was low because he thought God hated him.

Prayer For Bobby book cover

In the months following Bobby’s death, Mary looked hard for answers as to whether her son was in heaven or hell.  Her church, the Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, in Walnut Creek, California, made her think it was hell and that she’d never see her son again.

However, after meeting with Reverend Larry Whitsell at the Metropolitan Community Church in Concord, California, Mary started thinking differently about Bobby, his homosexuality, heaven and hell.

Mary Griffith

Years after Bobby’s suicide, Mary became a leading activist to show schools, churches, and society that every gay person should be given the chance to lead a happy, fulfilling life.

Mary wanted others, especially parents, to learn from her mistake — her fatal mistake of allowing her son to feel unloved and unworthy of her love and God’s love.

sigourney-weaver-prayers-for-bobby

In 2009, the book became an Emmy and Golden Globes-nominated movie on Lifetime.  “Prayers For Bobby” starred Sigourney Weaver and Ryan Kelley.

It was my second favorite movie of 2010, the year I saw it.

pflag_header

If you suspect that your child is gay or that a loved one is gay and you don’t know how to deal with it, check out P-FLAG National, the group formerly known as Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays, just like Mary did.

It changed her life and in return, her determination has saved countless other gay kids from becoming another Bobby, a victim of suicide.

Here’s the link to PFLAG:

http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2

Mary Griffith 2

Show love and compassion and don’t let your son, daughter, or loved one become the next Bobby!  And, don’t find this acceptance when it’s too late like Mary Griffith.

In memory of  Bobby Griffith, here is one of his favorite songs (“Shake It Up” from 1982) from his favorite band, The Cars, in the year leading up to his death.

Anthony